Despite their appearance, Tanukis (AKA Japanese Raccoon Dogs) are no relation to the common raccoon - they're part of the family Canidae.
Also known as the Tanuki, the Japanese Raccoon Dog has been a staple of Japanese folklore for centuries. But its name is a bit of a misnomer – you see, despite their appearance, raccoon dogs are no relation to the common raccoon. Tanuki are actually members of the Canidae family, alongside wolves and foxes. However, unlike wolves and foxes, these creatures are the only canines who hibernate during the snowy, barren winter months next to their mating partner.
In Japanese culture, the Tanuki appears in stories as a mystical beast known as ‘bake-danuki’ which can be translated as “monster raccoon dog.” Depending on the tale, the creature is either a trickster, a shapeshifter or a sign of good luck.